A Hungarian court on Saturday ordered the arrest of the captain
of a passenger ship that collided with a pleasure boat that capsized on the
Danube, killing South Korean tourists on board, although it left open the
possibility of granting him bail.
Flood waters prevented attempts to reach the submerged boat on
Saturday (1 June), three days after it sank in the Hungarian capital with 28
people feared dead, nearly all of them from South Korea.
The Ukrainian captain of the cruise ship, who denies having
broken any rules or committing a criminal offence, was taken into custody by
Hungarian police on Thursday.
No formal charges have been brought against the 64-year-old,
identified by Hungarian police as C. Yuriy from Odessa, but his arrest by a
Budapest municipal court in effect means he will not leave the city while the
case is pending.
The court ordered his arrest for one month with the possibility
of release on a 15 million forint ($50,000) bail, prosecution deputy spokesman
Ferenc Rab told Reuters.
It is so far unclear what caused the accident, in which the
440-foot (135-metre) cruise ship hit and sank the smaller pleasure boat on
Prosecutors appealed against the bail option, Rab said, so the
captain of the cruise ship will stay behind bars until the court rules on the
appeal in the next weeks.
The captain’s lawyers said there was insufficient evidence to
keep the captain locked up.
“Once he is released on bail he will not be able to leave the
boundaries of Budapest,” attorney Gabor Elo said, adding there would be an
electronic tracking device on the captain.
“He still feels distraught over the number of victims this
accident produced and asked us to convey his condolences to the families of the
The captain was not at fault and there was not enough evidence
to keep him locked up, the lawyer added.
“He committed no navigational error,” Elo said. “A lot of data
is missing from the procedure here, barring us from declaring who is at fault
and to what extent. Was it one captain or the other, were there external
A spokesman for Swiss-based Viking Cruises, which owns the
larger vessel, said in a statement that it was supporting and cooperating with
“We are deeply saddened by the incident and our thoughts and
prayers go out to those who were impacted and as well as to their families,”
the spokesman said on Friday.“We
understand the Captain has been charged by the local authorities and it would
be inappropriate for us to comment further while the legal process is ongoing.”